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December 18, 2013

How to pimp your Nokia Lumia 1020 to take amazing videos

Photography has always had its madcap inventors. Now it’s time for Nokia Lumia 1020 owners to join their ranks.

From the very off, with it’s multiplicity of origins, photography was a discipline of testing ideas and possibilities. As equipment developed, photographers were always intent on pushing it to its limits and often needed more than it could provide. Consequently, cameras always had home-made additions. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention…


These days there is a wealth of gizmos for our photographic needs. Flick through any photographic product catalogue and chances are that someone will already have thought of the something you’re looking for. People might prize themselves on having the best or newest model of something or perfectly matching kit and camera bags, but none of that necessarily guarantees a good photo. Sometimes you have to tinker a bit yourself to get exactly what you need.

LIFE sets the trend

LIFE One Ride With Yankee Papa 13

Larry Burrows famously invented a mount to fit his camera to a helicopter gun enabling him to get a shot of the gunner from the outside the chopper during the Vietnam War. (‘One Ride with Yankee Papa 13’ – the resulting LIFE story, is widely regarded as the most perfect piece of photojournalism ever made). James Jarché made a rising bowler hat which concealed a hidden camera. The likes of Harold Edgerton and Gjon Mili developed stroboscopic lights (flash, as we know it) enabling ‘time to stand still’. The list goes on and on. Photographers, it seems, are never happy with what they’re given…

Light emitting diodes (LED)

Personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of flash light. A flash close to the camera gives a harsh dark shadow and often causes people to have that ‘bunny-caught-in-headlights’ look. Consequently, where possible, I look to use natural light or a constant light source. This is easily done in a static studio, but how about when you out and about?


Alongside the development of improved LED technology, it is the rise of DSLR video capabilities that has driven these particular little inventions. For filming, a flashing light is obviously not a feasible option. So, numerous companies have now made a constant, controllable, LED light source with a hot-shoe mount.

And, unlike a flash, which needs to synchronise with the shutter, a constant light can be used with any camera.

Flash and lighting mounts


nokia flash bracket examples

Now, of course, a 1020 doesn’t have a hot-shoe. But it does have a tripod mount. So with the addition of another gizmo (an off camera flash bracket), you can fit the light source (or sources) to the phone. Not only does this give you light but, depending on what bracket you choose, it distances the light from the lens, helping remove some of the harsher shadows too.


Here’s the 1020 mounted on a single light off camera flash bracket. Here you can see the empty hot-shoe mount to the right of the 1020.


And then the LED light simply slides into the hot-shoe mount and locks in place.

This is a perfect solution for video and also a great addition for stills photography. Controllable, constant lighting available all the time and at a very low cost. I think it’s a great addition to the Nokia Lumia 1020 photographers armoury, but what about you? Are you ready to give it a whirl? Or do you have other hacks you’ve been experimenting with? If so we’d love to hear about them in the comments below.